PodText Logo PodText
Highlight any text to listen to it!
Podcast Transcript
00:01: Ted Audio Collective
00:11: It's Ted Talks Daily, I'm Elise Hugh.
00:13: You're in for a treat and a lot of laughing out loud in today's dog from Pop Culture
00:17: Queen, Bevy Smith.
00:19: She took the Ted 2022 stage in five-inch heels and a whole lot of moxie.
00:24: She shares where it all came from and her key lessons about aging in her singular,
00:29: Heavy Smith style.
00:34: Got a business problem?
00:35: There's a TED Talk for that.
00:37: Stay updated on everything business.
00:39: On TED Business, a podcast hosted by Columbia Business School Professor Modoupe Akanola.
00:44: Every week, she'll introduce you to leaders with unique insights on work, answering questions
00:49: like, how do four day work weeks work?
00:52: Do will a machine ever take my job?
00:54: some surprising answers on Ted Business, wherever you listen to podcasts.
01:00: I am a late bloomer. In fact, a friend of mine you may have heard of, Chris Rock.
01:07: He once called me the most late bloomin mofo he'd ever met.
01:13: Now some people might consider that snide, but I've revel in it. I'm 55,
01:19: and I'm here in this curvy body as someone who has done the work,
01:24: lived the life, walked the walk and these are very high heels and therefore is
01:30: qualified to testify in a church and in the court of law that it does in fact get greater later.
01:44: Now coming to this realization wasn't easy. At the age of 38 I was a very successful fashion advertising executive.
01:52: And I was really living what most people considered a dream life.
01:56: I was jet-set in the fashion shows.
01:58: I was receiving free designer clothes.
02:00: I was double kissing my way across the globe.
02:03: Who was?
02:05: And you know, it was everything that I ever wanted it to be.
02:08: And then one day I realized I was only pretending to be happy.
02:14: But I couldn't blow up my good life
02:16: In my prime earning years, right?
02:19: Wrong.
02:20: Which leads me to lessons my mother Lollie taught me.
02:24: Lollie's number one lesson, don't settle.
02:29: Don't settle.
02:30: Now I'm aware that my well-paying glamorous career
02:33: is not exactly the hum drum I hate my job stereotype that most people equate with settling,
02:39: but it was a settle for me.
02:41: Because when I actually did quit my job at the age of 38,
02:44: It was with the intention that every day be a great adventure.
02:49: Now sometimes it was a very scary adventure
02:51: like being broke from the age of 40 to 45.
02:55: But even still, I wouldn't trade up
02:57: with a safe and settled version because if I had,
03:00: I would not be here with y'all today.
03:04: Yeah.
03:06: So you know how when you like buck the system and go against the status quo, it makes people really uncomfortable.
03:14: And invariably, people will ask, where do you get your confidence?
03:22: Now, some people mean it as a compliment, but very often, it's shady.
03:29: And it's a silent judgment.
03:32: And to those people, I respond with a quote
03:34: from this Brooklyn poet you may have heard of.
03:36: Jay-Z, she get it from her mama.
03:41: I am she and my mama is the epitome of a grown-ass woman,
03:47: someone who has always been very comfortable in her skin.
03:50: In 1965, my mom was 37 years old.
03:53: She already had one child, my big brother Jerry,
03:56: as she married my dad, but she kept her maiden name.
04:00: And then she had my sister Stephanie and I back to back,
04:03: but she continued to work because she refused
04:05: to be beholden to my dad for money.
04:09: And I bet my mom was the only woman in our neighborhood who cooked once a week.
04:14: She made Sunday dinner.
04:16: It was an extravaganza, but that's all she did.
04:18: She cooked one day a week.
04:21: My mom is just amazing.
04:24: And she also had this ability of talking to her children
04:27: about real life and making sure that we understood
04:30: the virtues of going your own way,
04:33: which is why I believe today at the age of 94
04:36: In a recent widow, my mom is still carving out ways
04:40: to find and determine and define her own version of happiness.
04:46: She cooks for herself.
04:48: She maintains her home exactly as she sees fit.
04:52: She enjoys champagne and all-rated films.
04:59: My mom has managed to maintain her glam or her sex appeal, you know, her independence.
05:06: And I really hope some of that rubs off on me.
05:11: Recently, I've been thinking about
05:12: one of the best lessons that my mom ever taught me,
05:15: which is the literal beauty in aging.
05:18: Now we all know that black don't crack, right?
05:21: Right?
05:22: Okay.
05:24: Black don't crack.
05:25: So at the age of 50, my mom could have easily passed for the age of 35.
05:30: And that's back during the time
05:32: when women were really queried about the age, a lady never tells her age.
05:38: My mom never subscribed to that.
05:40: She was always proud of her age.
05:42: As a matter of fact, she believes you may not tell your age,
05:46: but your hands and your neck will.
05:50: So make peace with aging
05:52: or prepare for an entire wardrobe of gloves and turd the next.
06:00: Yeah, my mom has always done these wonderful things like that.
06:04: But I wish she could rub off on everyone because I feel like now I'm looking at even
06:09: 20 somethings who have a fear of aging.
06:11: I watch them on social media, like, you know, compulsively practicing the latest 10-second dance craze.
06:18: And it feels like they're angst and asking, is that all there is?
06:22: And I just want to yell.
06:23: Yes, that is all there is.
06:25: before you're gonna do a salule for dancing to someone else's TikTok beat. ardling is a very insidious.
06:36: It keeps us dancing on this string, waiting for this elusive better date and miraculously appear.
06:43: Now thanks to Lobley's two-dolage, that's not my story.
06:46: In fact, I take each day as it comes
06:49: by trying to make it better than the last.
06:51: So, you know, I'm single, but I'm always ready to mingle.
06:58: I'm an entrepreneur, but I keep multiple revenue streams.
07:03: I'm a solo traveler, which means I've done
07:06: the CPA version of Eat, Pray, Love on six continents.
07:13: Because I don't settle, what that means
07:16: is that I also don't second guess my decisions.
07:19: And I'm also not worried about my future
07:21: because I'm firmly rooted in the present.
07:24: Settling is a really sinister thing.
07:26: It will keep you up at night,
07:28: tossing and turning, trying to figure out why,
07:31: and trying to answer that age old question of, is that all there is.
07:35: Personally, I don't have time for that,
07:37: because the only time I wanna be kept up all night long, tossing and turning,
07:41: is when I'm in the company of a fine ass man.
07:44: That's it.
07:45: I wish I could tell you guys,
07:47: I'm gonna tell you guys,
07:48: I'm gonna tell you guys,
07:49: I'm gonna tell you guys,
07:50: I'm gonna tell you guys,
07:51: I could tell you guys that I learned all these valuable lessons from Lolli and they were
07:54: instilled in me and it was great.
07:56: But last, I emolate Blumet in all regards.
08:00: So I had to learn a couple of lessons from the era of bitchy bevy.
08:08: What kind of person has 10 assistants in five years?
08:13: Bitchy bevy, that's who?
08:16: Not install out my career with a toxic attitude.
08:19: So initially I was really happy to be in the fashion industry,
08:22: you know, but then I began to compare my trajectory to others.
08:25: And I also began to feel burned out
08:28: because I was burdened by these personas
08:30: that I had created that were allegedly
08:32: gonna help me progress in my career.
08:34: I made a couple of mistakes.
08:35: One, I thought that being snarky was a good career move.
08:39: It wasn't.
08:40: I also thought I looked good in the color brown.
08:41: I actually don't.
08:43: Yeah.
08:44: Yeah.
08:47: In my dream montage, I wanted to get away from Bitchie Bevy.
08:51: I wanted to get away from the color brown.
08:53: And so in the movie version of my life,
08:56: as soon as I quit my job, I'm a yoga guru.
09:00: I'm extremely limber and very happy.
09:04: Come to think of it though, guys,
09:05: I'm actually limber and happy right now,
09:08: but I would be lying and I believe it is against
09:10: international law to lie during a TED talk.
09:15: So I'm not gonna do that.
09:17: As a matter of fact, my insecurities pop back up as late as last year.
09:22: I was minding my business as one does.
09:25: Perusing social media.
09:27: And I saw people excelling in a space
09:29: where I traditionally had a lot of success.
09:33: So I'm looking at it and I'm like,
09:34: what about the hell they ain't calling me for that job?
09:38: And I have this like,
09:39: And then I realized they didn't call me for that job
09:43: because you always said you didn't want that job.
09:45: You told the universe you weren't into working like that.
09:47: You don't want a job.
09:49: I really don't.
09:51: I'm not into it.
09:53: So that's why it happened.
09:56: And what I realized is that intellectually I had grown and evolved, but emotionally,
10:03: I was Tom Petty and I was living in Petty Coke Junction.
10:09: I told you all that ground doesn't look good on me.
10:12: Petty looks even worse.
10:14: It's not my shade.
10:17: And so what I wound up having to do was really get a grip.
10:22: I had to assess a few things about myself,
10:24: and I decided to do a little self-help ritual call, take a note, give a note.
10:30: And it's easy.
10:31: When you see someone having something that you believe you deserve, you take a note.
10:35: You ask yourself a few questions.
10:37: It's something that you really want.
10:39: Perhaps that person is better suited than you are for that.
10:42: It's the universe conspiring for you to have that.
10:45: Really kind of try and be honest with who you are and where you're at in life.
10:50: Once you do that, you take a deep breath and you say,
10:54: their wins have nothing to do with my worthiness
10:57: and then you're ready to give a note.
11:00: You go on social media and you say, congratulations
11:04: or my personal favorite, you pick up the phone like it's the 20th century.
11:08: And you say, congratulations, cool dogs,
11:10: you did that, Al, you go girl, you do all the things.
11:14: Incidentally, you feel like a better human being.
11:18: Because you have actually extended grace.
11:21: You've extended grace.
11:23: You've extended grace to someone else.
11:26: And I believe that when you remove malice from your heart,
11:29: not only do you feel better, you look better.
11:32: I think you lose your crown lines and your wrinkles lessen and your age spots disappear.
11:38: I believe it's better than Botox extending grace. I do.
11:45: Yeah. No, but let me get back to the note, the note thing. So, one of my favorite notes is from
11:53: Willie Shakespeare to Dine Own Self Be True. Now, we've all read self-help books in the first line of
12:01: of defense is always be your most authentic self.
12:05: And I believe in that.
12:07: I believe that nobody can be you but you.
12:10: So you might as well show up and show out.
12:13: But he is the quandary that the bar never put forth.
12:16: What if you don't really know who you are
12:18: because you have suppressed your inner self?
12:21: You've suppressed the core of you.
12:23: You've suppressed the best parts of you
12:25: because you took on these other identities
12:27: and the personas and an effort to make your life better.
12:32: Because you know, we all buy into some things
12:33: about what we're supposed to be doing and who we're supposed to be.
12:37: So what have you squelched that?
12:39: Because I know I had to excavate the dig up
12:41: little brown bevy, but the way I found it was through three questions.
12:45: Who am I at my core?
12:47: How am I being perceived?
12:48: How would I like to be perceived?
12:50: Who am I at my core?
12:51: At my core, I'm looking to authentically connect with people.
12:55: I don't like a cursory, you know, interaction,
12:58: and I do not believe in networking.
13:00: I like an authentic connection.
13:02: I'm also curious and I'm adventurous and I'm kind, and I've got big dreams.
13:08: How am I being perceived?
13:09: Well, y'all know the nickname, bitchy bevy.
13:12: So duh, but here's the problem.
13:16: There's a lot of power in that persona,
13:18: and I actually really enjoyed it for a time, you know?
13:21: Because you could make a lot of money being a bitch, especially in fashion.
13:26: But it's also incredibly lonely and isolating.
13:30: And I didn't want to live that life anymore
13:31: and so I decided to change my life.
13:34: And I left all of that alone.
13:35: I really did just change my spirit and leaving fashion obviously helped.
13:42: And when I did that, all of a sudden,
13:45: I let little brown bevy out to play.
13:49: Little brown bevy.
13:51: I love her so much.
13:53: Louis Brown Bevy is a nerdy girl.
13:55: And so I let my nerdy pursuits come out to play.
13:58: I must have joined every museum or museum mile in New York City.
14:02: I began to travel the world just to look at architecture
14:05: I'd always dreamed of.
14:07: I learned how to be alone without being lonely.
14:10: My spirit shifted.
14:11: I became a better person.
14:13: You can ask people.
14:14: I became a better person.
14:17: And now I get to stand here and front of you guys
14:20: with no bravado with nothing to prove.
14:23: I tell you, with nothing to prove.
14:25: I'm not trying to prove none of y'all.
14:26: I have an open heart, and I can't even believe
14:31: that little brown bev from 150th Street in 8th Avenue,
14:43: from the Hamlet of Harlem, is now in the word
14:45: winning radio and TV hosts, and author, and actress, a creative consultant.
14:52: I would do all those things for free, but here's the thing.
14:55: I ain't cheap and I'm definitely not free, so don't get any ideas.
15:03: But I am here in this mama, I made it moment.
15:06: As someone who can show up as her most bevy itself, because I've done the work.
15:12: Yeah, my most bevy itself.
15:14: You know that I'm gonna show up
15:17: and I've got a pep in my high heel, red bottom step.
15:20: I do have heaving cleavage.
15:24: And I've got to tell it like it is approached the life
15:26: that's always dosed with a ladle of love.
15:31: It took me 55 years to get here.
15:33: So Chris Rock, you're right.
15:36: I'm a late bloomer and that's okay.
15:39: Because I'm right on time.
15:41: Because it gets greater later.
15:44: Thank you.
15:50: P-R-X.